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High gas-phase mixing ratios of formic and acetic acid in the High Arctic
  • Published Date:
    2018
  • Source:
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 18(14), 10237-10254.
Filetype[PDF-4.60 MB]


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  • Description:
    Formic and acetic acid are ubiquitous and abundant in the Earth's atmosphere and are important contributors to cloud water acidity, especially in remote regions. Their global sources are not well understood, as evidenced by the inability of models to reproduce the magnitude of measured mixing ratios, particularly at high northern latitudes. The scarcity of measurements at those latitudes is also a hindrance to understanding these acids and their sources. Here, we present ground-based gas-phase measurements of formic acid (FA) and acetic acid (AA) in the Canadian Arctic collected at 0.5 Hz with a high-resolution chemical ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer using the iodide reagent ion (iodide HR-ToF-CIMS, Aerodyne). This study was conducted at Alert, Nunavut, in the early summer of 2016. FA and AA mixing ratios for this period show high temporal variability and occasional excursions to very high values (up to 11 and 40 ppbv respectively). High levels of FA and AA were observed under two very different conditions: under overcast, cold conditions during which physical equilibrium partitioning should not favor their emission, and during warm and sunny periods. During the latter, sunny periods, the FA and AA mixing ratios also displayed diurnal cycles in keeping with a photochemical source near the ground. These observations highlight the complexity of the sources of FA and AA, and suggest that current chemical transport model implementations of the sources of FA and AA in the Arctic may be incomplete.

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